by Haley Smith
An in-depth view of the affect that modern hip hop has on American society.
|Are they beats or are they bashing? Music or malice? Golden or garbage? The booty-shakin', sexual songs that overpopulate radio stations, TV channels, and iPods of today's youth are immensely controversial.
"She's fine, she got a badonk-a-donk, I lick her there, she suck me off, I'm gonna get her wet..." As ridiculous as these so-called lyrics sound, they are dominating the world of music, especially hip hop. All we see in the music videos for these songs are scantily clad girls, their barely-covered butts all in the camera, money thrown around all over the place, and those despicable dance moves. Normally, we would see this as something only guys would talk about amongst each other, to try and look cool. Essentially, these songs are conversations with a little more rhythm, thumping bass, a catchy melody, an occasional 808, and there you have it. Instantly, it would become a hit.
But the question is -- why? What substance do any of these songs possess? All they talk about is the female's physical appearance -- how big her breasts are, how round her butt is, or how flat her stomach is. All they talk about is the way she dresses (if she's dressed) and the way she moves on that pole. Does inner quality amount to anything anymore? What about her intelligence, her personality, what she wants to do with her life? Does she have any goals? Does she even matter to the person talking about her? This appalling garbage that we label as "music" and "hip hop" isn't even worthy of being labeled as either of those; it's more along the lines of pop rap.
And speaking of worthy, how do these "rappers" measure the girls' worth? By how well she can give head or by how well she can take a college exam? By how well she shakes her ass or how well she shakes off the social stigmas against women because of this?
Pop rap is (obviously) short for popular rap. It's the only kind of rap played on the radio, and if they aren't talking about sex, they're talking about gang violence, the hood, drugs, going to the club, their cars, and money. Once you play that type of song over and over again for several years, true hip hop seemingly dies and a mutant form is born, and that mutant form has definitely affected youth today. We see males calling girls "bitches" and "hoes" in a superior way, as if everything that Susan B. Anthony and those thousands of women in the 70's fought and protested to get rid of. We see the males seeing females as nothing but sexual objects, a toy at Christmastime that once they get bored of, they can just throw away, and it's all peachy. We see girls wearing jeans that look painted on, T-shirts that might as well be corsets, and obsessing over the way they look rather than obsessing over the way their GPA looks. These stupid songs have caused the majority of teenage girls to feel inferior, to look "cute" and "sexy" and "fine" and nothing more.
The majority of youth is more concerned about how many girls they've nailed or counting on a boy to make them feel happy than watching the news or at least listening to something they can grow from. How can anybody grow from this nonsense? How can a young girl grow to feel like a real, powerful woman, what with all these so-called "men" on TV and on radio stations telling them to get on their knees and get on the pole? Because of their appearance and the reputation they have to keep up, many girls resort to acting dumb and dressing like a regular on a street corner to look cute -- as a teenager myself, I would know.
What I also don't understand is how can some of these "men" be self-professed mama's boys and degrade women the way they do? Their mothers would turn in their grave to know the things their sons have said about females just to make some money.
However, men in pop rap aren't the only culprits. Sometimes the victims are doing it to themselves. There are quite a few female "rappers" who talk about themselves in vulgar, sexual ways and think that it's empowering. It most definitely is not empowering. It's self-degradation. These women selling albums and getting paid big bucks to be featured in music videos that might as well be softcore porn are sometimes the same people complaining about how men treat them -- absolute hypocrisy. One can't complain about the cycle if they aren't going to do anything to try and stop it, or even worse -- sell products that promote the idea of sex and inferiority to women even more.
While these "men" and "women" make millions off of the idea that "sex sells" and stupify American youth even more, I can live and breathe happily knowing that I choose quality music by the likes of Lupe Fiasco and Common (and so many others) that appreciate and encourage women to be more and to do more than what record executives and rappers tell them to be.